TSMC on Tuesday is set to formally start installation of tools at its fab near Phoenix, Arizona, an important milestone both for the world’s largest contract maker of chips and its clients in the U.S. The company took the opportunity to announce plans to build another phase of its Arizona fab, which will almost quadruple investments into the site and will significantly increase production capacity of the fab.
The second fab at TSMC’s Arizona site (or the second phase of the Fab 21, depending on how you want to look at it) is set to come online in 2026. It will process wafers using TSMC’s N3 process technologies, 3nm class nodes that include N3, N3E, N3P, N3S, and N3X. It will also increase production capacity of the camp to 600,000 wafer starts per year, the company announced on Tuesday. It will come online in 2026 and will be one of the foundry’s most advanced fabs outside of Taiwan.
TSMC’s first fab in Arizona will produce chips using the company’s N5 family of technologies — N5, N5P, N4, N4P, and N4X processes — when it comes online in 2024. It will have production capacity of around 20,000 wafer starts per month, or 240,000 wafer starts per year, and will require investments of around $12 billion to be built and equipped.
The new N3-capable production facility will almost quadruple the investment that TSMC will make in Arizona. The chip manufacturer expects its total investments in the state to be around $40 billion when both fabs are built and equipped with production tools, which will make the camp one of the most expensive fabs ever built.
It should be noted that while TSMC’s N3 family of production nodes will be extremely advanced even in 2026, that will still be three or four years after TSMC begins to use them in Taiwan. They’ll help satisfy the needs of the company’s clients, while the foundry’s flagship production technology at the time will be N2 (2nm class) with gate-all-around transistors, which will be used to make leading-edge chips in Taiwan. TSMC’s crème-de-la-crème nodes will remain in Taiwan, but the foundry will have advanced production capacities in the U.S. as well.
Over time, the company may construct additional modules of its Fab 21, though at present the company has not talked about them as those expansions are a few years out and it’s unclear what capacity TSMC’s clients are going to need after 2025. Furthermore, both Intel and Samsung will have leading-edge production capacity for their customers in the U.S. by 2025~2026, so that foundry market will be quite different several years down the road.
“When complete, TSMC Arizona aims be the greenest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States producing the most advanced semiconductor process technology in the country, enabling next generation high-performance and low-power computing products for years to come,” said TSMC Chairman Dr. Mark Liu.